Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Growth continues

Co-Author Julia Lernoud from FiBL presented the new report on the growth of different sustainable labels at the annual conference of the ISEAL Alliance, the umbrella organisation of 21 sustainable standards. (Photo: FiBL, Franziska Hämmerli) (lifePR) (Frick/Geneva/Zurich, ) The latest market data on key Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) is presented in "The State of Sustainable Markets 2017" report. The 2017 edition was presented yesterday at the Global Sustainability Standards Conference at the World Trade Center in Zurich, Switzerland, where the key results were showcased.

The new report "State of Sustainable Markets 2017: Statistics and Emerging Trends", covering 14 Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), shows continued growth across all products and all standards.

The report presents data that helps small firms take advantage of trends to supply consumers with products that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

Coffee: the largest certified area

The share of standard compliant area reached double digits in 2015 for the following products: more than 25% of land used for coffee production, 16% of land used for cocoa production, 15% of land used for oil palm production, and 14% of land used for tea production are now VSS compliant.

Cotton: largest growth in standard compliant area among certified commodities

The cotton standard compliant area nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2015, while the banana compliant area almost tripled, and the tea compliant area more than doubled in the same timeframe. The soy and cotton compliant area both grew by close to 50% between 2014 and 2015.

Organic is the standard with the largest certified area

Organic is the largest sustainability standard in terms of area; it is the standard with the largest variety of commodities and is the only VSS operating across all nine sectors covered in this report. In 2015, more than 50.9 million hectares were certified organic, representing 1.1% of the global agricultural land. The single-commodity Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified almost 3.5 million hectares, making it the standard with the second-largest area, representing 0.07% of the global agricultural area. GLOBALG.A.P. had more than 3.1 million hectares.

Strongest area growth by standard noted for the Better Cotton Initiative

Most of the VSS experienced significant growth between 2011 and 2015.
  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) standard compliant area expanded almost ninefold between 2011 and 2015, to 2.2 million hectares.
  • The area used to cultivate Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) soy increased fivefold and is now at 0.7 million hectares.
  • The certified area of Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) (almost 1 million hectares) and of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) tripled between 2011 and 2015.
  • The 4C (1.6 million hectares) and UTZ (2.1 million hectares) also experienced a significant growth of their certified area in the same timeframe.
Report "State of Sustainable Markets 2017: Statistics and Emerging Trends"

The "State of Sustainable Markets 2017: Statistics and Emerging Trends" is the second joint report between the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC). It offers a comprehensive snapshot of the market performance of global sustainability standards operating in eight products: bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar, and tea. The report also covers forestry. This report and the global market survey on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

This report covers the following standards: 4C, Better Cotton Initiative, Bonsucro, Cotton Made in Africa, Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council, GLOBALG.A.P., IFOAM – Organics International, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, ProTerra Foundation, Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Round Table on Responsible Soy, and UTZ.

An interactive database featuring these standards and products will be launched in late September 2017 in Geneva at the Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, allowing policymakers, businesses, standards bodies and researchers access to customized, updated data on these markets.

Publication details

Julia Lernoud, Jason Potts, Gregory Sampson, Salvador Garibay, Matthew Lynch, Vivek Voora, Helga Willer, and Joseph Wozniak (2017), The State of Sustainable Markets – Statistics and Emerging Trends 2017. ITC, Geneva.

Partners
Funding

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are very grateful to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for granting financial support for the global data collection on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) and for the production of the State of Sustainable Markets publication.

Global Sustainability Standards Conference

The 2017 Global Sustainability Standards Conference, organized by ISEAL Alliance, is taking place at the World Trade Center, Zürich, Switzerland, June 27 to 30.More information is available at www.isealalliance.org/about-us/annual-conference/2017-conference 

Kontakt

FiBL - Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau
Ackerstrasse 113
CH-5070 Frick
Franziska Hämmerli
Julia Lernoud
Department of Extension, Training and Communicatio
Dr. Willer
Department of Extension, Training and Communicatio
Jason Pott
IISD
Vivek Voora
IISD
Gregory Sampson
ITC

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